EPA finds no synergy concerns with Dow’s Enlist Duo and reverses restrictions on its approval

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dismissed earlier concerns about Dow AgroSciences’ combination pesticide Enlist Duo, and is now proposing to more than double the number of states allowed to use the product on genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Specifically, the EPA wants to broaden Enlist Duo registration to include GE cotton, and to extend the existing permits for use on GE corn and soybeans and cotton from 15 to 34 states.

The product combines glyphosate and 2,4-D, and is designed to be used in conjunction with crops engineered to resist its action. A year ago, the EPA halted the registration process, requesting further data about potential synergistic interactions between the active ingredients. After reviewing that new information, the agency says it confirms the original findings of no synergy in the Enlist Duo formulation.

Environmental and food advocacy groups immediately opposed the decision. ‘EPA’s sudden about-face on this product is just astounding,’ said Nathan Donley from the Center for Biological Diversity. In addition, George Kimbrell, a senior attorney with the US Center for Food Safety, called the agency’s move ‘a capitulation to the agrichemical industry’.

Unsurprisingly, Dow welcomed the EPA’s announcement. ‘This milestone is important to having Enlist Duo registered in time for the 2017 season for use in Enlist cotton, corn and soybeans,’ the company said. ‘This is closing the chapter,’ spokeswoman Kenda Resler-Friend tells Chemistry World.